Thursday, 14 November 2013

A prince at retirement age, still waiting for the top job

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales turns 65 on November 14th 2013 which in the kingdom he will one day rule makes him eligible for his pension.  No one is expecting Charles to start queuing up at the Post Office nearest to Clarence House for his pension as of Tuesday but the heir reaching retirement age does pose an interesting question.  At a time when most people are thinking of moving on from their jobs, this prince is still waiting for the role he's trained a lifetime for to begin. 

Charles Philip Arthur George was a prince from birth thanks to letters patent issued by his grandfather, George VI, ahead of his arrival on November 14th 1948
On the day he was born, there was so much jubilation in the streets outside Buckingham Palace that the police had to ask revelers to quieten down to allow the then Princess Elizabeth and her new son to get some sleep.  Sixty five years later, that little boy is getting a taste of the big job for which he was born by representing his mother, now Elizabeth II, at the Commonwealth Heads of State meeting in Sri Lanka. 
Charles and Camilla in India - they toured the country before moving on to Sri Lanka on the prince's 65th birthday
But the events of November 14th 2013 also show the big problem that Charles faces.  He has spent six and a half decades preparing to be king and yet, as he represents the Queen at this important event, the spotlight back home is falling on Prince Harry.  For while the prince's big birthday has been noted, photos of him cutting a cake looking a little bit too hot in a white suit aren't quite the box office glamour offered by his youngest son taking part in the South Pole 2013 expedition for Walking for the Wounded.  And there lies Charles' problem.  He has waited so long to be king that all eyes are now turning to the generation that will come after him - before he has even assumed control of the House of Windsor. 
 Monarch in the middle - Charles in the portrait of four regnants together but he's usually the last of this quartet of royals to get attention
At least he can count on the support of his wife who surprised everyone this morning by giving an interview in which she described her husband as exhausting and hopeless.  But the remarks were part of a humourous chat she had with journalists on the royal tour of India where she answered questions about Prince Charles' big birthday.  He is unable to stop working she said, making him exhausting, and hopeless to buy presents for.  In that way, very like all the male subjects he was born to rule 65 years ago today.

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